Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Eastern and Southern Caribbean Itineraries Home Port

INTRO

This large, very busy port city is one of the oldest in the New World and one of the busiest ports in the Caribbean trade. You can easily spend your entire day within the ancient walls of Old San Juan or head out to the scenic countryside for rainforest or waterfront eco-delights.

AMBIENCE

Cruise ships dock in Old San Juan, the fortified old city, which was spruced up for Columbus’ 500th anniversary and is awaiting its own 500th in 2021. Located on a rocky island at the mouth of San Juan harbor, all points of interest are within walking distance. Dramatic El Morro Fortress supplies the island’s best-known landmark (a World Heritage Site). As one of the few walled cities in the Americas, the spirit of the Old World and Spain’s colonial heritage is all around, while east of Old San Juan rise the grand beachfront hotels and casinos of the modern city.

HISTORY

Discovered on Columbus’ second voyage, Puerto Rico quickly became the headquarters for Spanish rule in the New World and the last stop for treasure ships bound for Spain. San Juan was founded in 1521 by Juan Ponce “Fountain of Youth” de León and was soon a fortified city, fending-off attacks by Spain’s many rivals in the New World. Unlike smaller Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico remained a Spanish colony until 1898, when it was ceded to the U.S. after the Spanish American War. Puerto Rico was a U.S. Territory until 1952, when the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was established—a possession of the U.S. with its own constitution. As throughout the Caribbean, the native peoples didn’t last long after “discovery,” but hints of native blood lines and traditions survive. The dominant culture and architecture is strongly Spanish Colonial, with African and Caribbean influences. El Yunque forest reserve is one of the New World’s oldest, established by Spain in 1876. Now the Caribbean National Forest, it’s both the smallest U.S. National Forest (28,000 acres) and the Forest Service’s only tropical rainforest (120 in./305 cm. of annual rainfall).

FACTS

Size: 100 miles (161 km.) long by 35 miles (56 km.) wide
Climate: Subtropical Temperatures: 70°F (22°C) to 89°F (32°C)
Population: 3.89 million Busy Season: Late November to Late March
Language: English & Spanish Money: U.S. Dollar
Time Zone: Atlantic (no DST) Transportation: Taxis, trolleys, cars
Phones: Dial 1- from U.S., dial 911 for emergencies, local pay calls 25 cents
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Top Photo Slice: The Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan as seen from the Fantasy (℗ 41574) Photo contributed by © chezp



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